Famed Baylor St. Luke's surgeon reveals more conflicts of interest after media scrutiny

A famed Houston surgeon revealed he had more conflicts of interest in his research than he previously stated. The disclosure was allegedly prompted by a joint monthslong investigation into the surgeon and his research by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle.

Here are seven things to know:

1. On Aug. 9, the Houston Chronicle reported O.H. "Bud" Frazier, MD, of Houston-based Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, submitted an updated disclosure form to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors listing more potential conflicts of interest than he previously included in each of his published research efforts, including lecture fees and travel reimbursements from three medical devicemakers.

2. The updated disclosures, which were updated again July 31, came after an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and ProPublica published in May that found Dr. Frazier often failed to fully report conflicts of interest related to his research. Of the past 100 papers dating back to 2010 that listed Dr. Frazier as an author, the publications found he disclosed industry relationships in less than 10 percent, and that those disclosures were often inconsistent and incomplete.

3. The investigation found companies have reimbursed Dr. Frazier for travel expenses and consulting and lecture fees and donated to his research efforts through grants. Reporters found one medical device company even rewarded him with stock options, which he later gave to his son, the report states.

4. Prior to the publications' May report, reporters asked the New England Journal of Medicine about Dr. Frazier's omissions of potential conflicts of interest for two specific studies in 2009 and 2017, as well as a 2014 letter. After the report was published, Dr. Frazier reportedly submitted the updated conflict disclosures for both studies and the letter. Two of the amended disclosures were posted online last week, and the other earlier this week.

5. Before ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle published their investigation, Dr. Frazier told the reporters he had never made money off of devicemakers.

"My efforts have never been for personal financial gain," he said, adding that he "freely shared the mechanics of my heart flow pump with all comers, including two companies that later sold for billions of dollars."

6. Reporters contacted the NEJM and Dr. Frazier about the disclosures. The NEJM said the updated disclosures were prompted by the publications' reporting.

7. Dr. Frazier filed a lawsuit against ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle in July, alleging the publications misled readers about his relationship with medical device companies.

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